Sunday, June 16, 2013


I havn't written anything yet, so there is not anything to read. Check back for updates regularly. I hope to post weekly!

Saturday, September 15, 2012


*Update* This was written during my first year and is a reflection on faith and medical school. I know your class got a hammering this last test set. You are in my prayers, and I hope my simple thoughts on this matter are of a help to you.

I figured after approx. 2 years since posting the last blog, it was time to throw something up here.

As some of you may know, I recently started Medical School at Loma Lind University. After orientation, two weeks trotting around the hospital in a white coat that conveniently hid the fact that I knew nothing, and four weeks of lectures (65 hours sitting and scratching my head trying to figure out what in the world they were talking about) my class has made it to our first block of exams. I can feel the palpable tension in my classmates. There seems to be a collective feeling of unease. I would be remiss if I did not admit that I, too, feel nervous out this set of exams. Yah, I've studied hard. I've tried to be efficient and diligent and yet, there are still many, many little details in the ~500 pages of notes that we are expected to assimilate and learn. I simply do not possess the brain power to know absolutely everything in those notes. If any of my colleagues do, congratulations. I am sincerely happy for you. In the mean time, I'm glad it is Sabbath and that I don't have to worry about whether some tangential detail in PDX relating to a little line on someone's nail will be tested (it probably will, hence, that was the last thing I studied before sabbath!). Instead, I took some time this morning to listen to some great music (Sietze de Vries playing the Schnitger organ in Uithuizen, NL) and reflect on what God has done for me.

When Dr. Orr started speaking at our white coat service in August, I was prepared for another good speech that I probably wouldn't remember. Rarely do the speeches at ceremonies seem to actually stick. But, quite quickly, I realized the profound implications of what he was sharing. He spoke about how physicians enter into trust relationships with their patients. Since we have more power, more knowledge experience etc. we have the ethical responsibility to prove ourselves (collectively as a profession and also personally) as trustworthy to our society and patients. Medicine depends upon the physician-patient relationship. It's foundation is trust. What Dr. Orr did not delve into however is how this relates to our relationship with God.

If as doctors we must prove ourselves as trustworthy because we are in a relationship founded on trust, what about God? I think we would all agree that he has more power and knowledge than us lowly humans and the Gospel is full of invitations to know him and have a relationship with him. Thus, like physicians, God, to have that relationship must prove himself trustworthy. The foundation of the Gospel and Great Controversy is whether we can trust God with what he says.

So, my question to myself over the last few weeks as I've thought about this and to you, this morning, is  "Has God proven himself as trustworthy?" To answer this myself, I will highlight a few instances in my life where God has shown himself to be true to his word.

The summer of 2010 was a turning point spiritually for me. I sat down to study for the MCAT and on the first day I realized the impossibility of the task before me and started flipping through the Bible. Now, I certainly believed in God, but at the time I was a practical atheist. God's existence in my life at that point made very little difference. So, I opened my Bible and the first text I saw was Ps. 28:7. "The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, And with my song I shall thank him." Well, after studying all summer, taking the test and waiting for my score, God showed that he keeps his promises. Two years later, I'm still praising God for the help on that test and getting me into medical school. He proved, quite easily, that he will help when we trust and that he is a saving defense in our time of need.

A second instance where God proved himself to me was the following summer. My family has a cherry farm in British Columbia and it has always been a summer job for my brothers and I. During the 2011 crop year my dad put me in charge of the orchard as manager. I got back from school on a monday night and promptly worked till 3 am. That night set a pattern for the whole summer. NOTHING seemed to go right. We had equipment failure after failure. A pump mysteriously go out, too much rain, not enough sun, not enough pickers, the list of problems never seemed to stop. I reached the depths of discouragement one night while working with equipment that simply refused to work. The summer turned into a battle of prayer where every day and night I would go out to work and have prayer for my equipment. I would ask God to keep my sprayer working for "just one more night!". Eventually, we made it to harvest. Our cherries were ripe and it just kept on raining. For the record, rain damages cherries and makes them unmarketable. So, one afternoon, I see another set of thunderclouds coming straight towards our farm and I open my Bible and start looking for a promise. Here's what I found "He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, "My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!" Ps. 91:1-2. Yes, indeed, I watched as the clouds changed direction and not a single drop of rain touched our cherries. God had protected once again.

Ultimately, the most important thing we can trust God with is our salvation. The Bible is riddled with promises of God saving his people. The Gospel lays out a beautifully simple plan of how God has saved his people. It seems that most of us have learned to trust God when it comes to our salvation, but, few of us (myself included) have learned to really trust his promises to help us in daily living. So, going into test week, I have absolute certainty that God will help me. The two stories related above are only a few of the instances where God proved himself to me. But, it is enough for me to have absolute certainty that God is who he says he is and that his promises are are true. Now, he probably wont miraculously infuse my brain with every little piece of information I need to know for the test. And he may not give me honors and a super high board score. But, I have absolute certainty that what he gives will be enough.

So, I challenge you to look back and see how God has proved himself to you. Take comfort in those instances, and have faith that he will carry you through this week. And if you don't think God has ever shown himself to you, then open the book of Psalms. Read until you find a promise that is applicable to you (it won't take long if you are like me) and then put your finger on it and claim it as yours! Point it out to God that he promised to give strength or wisdom or or or... and move forward in faith that God will fulfill that promise. It may be in a way you don't expect, but, look for him to keep his word. It is the foundation of a life of hope and a Christian walk. And, it is the key to a life lived by faith without fear and worry.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Thanksgiving has always been a special time of the year for my family. I can remember, years ago, having a big outdoor feast with my cousins, uncles, aunts, brothers, parents and grandparents. As a family deeply involved with agriculture, it was a time of the year to thank God for the blessings of a good crop and for the protection he granted in times of need. The tradition of giving thanks has changed as I have not been around Canada in the fall for the last 5 years. Yet, I still celebrate this holiday. Yesterday, in honor of Canadian Thanksgiving, I drafted a short list of specific things I am thankful for this year. The list is in no particular order.

· I am thankful that last year of school got done without me die-ing

· I am thankful for a good summer of dirtbiking, time spent with family and a good crop of apples and cherries.

· I am thankful for a family that loves me and accepts my eccentricities

· I am thankful for a great, inspiring organ teacher, and the joy of studying organ and music

· I am thankful for a good roommate

· I am thankful for the friends I have

· I am exceedingly thankful for God’s help on the MCAT and for the good score he gave me

· I am most thankful for God, and the experience of the MCAT this summer. It was a growing experience. I am thankful for my deeper relationship with Him. I am thankful for his sustaining grace, and the help he renders in my times of need. I am thankful for His sacrifice.

Friday, October 1, 2010


Recently I read a treatise on Bach's b minor mass. I learned many new things, some relating to form, others regarding the use of ritornello, and still other things on symbolism. But, perhaps the most important insight I gained was not a strictly musicological fact relating to some arcane detail or fact not previously realized but a greater understanding of Bach's mind and understanding of the passion of Christ. You see, the meat of theological meaning in the Latin Ordinary is the Nicene Creed. The creed is a statement of belief. For Bach, and the approximately twelve hundred years of tradition predating him, the creed stood as the essence of Christianity. But, as the author (John Butt) pointed out the most important part of the creed is the text dealing with the death and resurrection of Christ. Interestingly enough, Bach, when composing his Missa, separated two verses of text and effectively added a movement. Yet, what is so utterly profound is that his added movement is right at the very center of this part of the mass and deals solely with the crucifixion of Christ. To Bach, as to all other Lutherans of that age, the crucifixion of Christ was to be the non-negotiable center of life, and to this end, Bach even took care to frame his Missa as centered around the crucifixion.

This reminded me of a piece of poetry for my favorite hymn O Sacred Head Now Wounded.

What Thou, my Lord, hast suffered
Was All for sinners' gain;
Mine, mine was teh transgression,
But Thine the deadly pain.
Lo Here I fall, my savior!
'Tis i deserve Thy place;
Look on me with Thy favor,
Vouchsafe to me Thy grace.

Yes, tis I deserve thy place. O lord, take me life, as I fall to thee, and grant me your grace! Help me to make you, and your crucifixion and sacrifice my daily thought! May my life be centered on you.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


From the hymn "In Allen Meinen Taten." Pay particular attention to the third and last verses.

In all that I do
I am led by God’s counsel,
who can do all and owns all;
in everything he must give,
if it is to turn out well,
his own advice and counsel to me

Nothing can happen to me
except what he has foreseen
and what is a blessing for me.
I take as he gives;
what to him is pleasing from me
is the very thing I choose also myself.

I trust in his grace
that from all harm,
from all evil protects me;
if I live according to his laws,
then there is nothing to harm me,
nothing lacking that is useful for me.

Whether I lie down late
or wake up early,
whether I stay in or go out,
in weakness and in bondage,
whatever happens to confront me,
yet his word is my consolation

If it is his decision,
then I will go undeterred
to meet my fate!
No misfortune whatsoever
shall be too harsh for me,
I shall overcome it

To him I have entrusted myself
in dying and in living,
whenever he bids me;
whether it may be today or tomorrow
I leave to his care,
he alone knows the right time.

Therefore, my soul, be true to yourself
and trust him alone
who has created you.
Come what may,
your Father in heaven
knows what is best in all situations

Friday, September 10, 2010

My blog title: a motto to live by

Some of the people who may read this blog will wonder about the title of this blog Soli Deo Gloria. I shall attempt to explain. (without rambling to an excessive extent)

The Protestant Reformation was a reaction to the abuses of the Catholic Church. Luther, and others, did not set out to start a new church, merely to try to help Catholicism return to some of its grounding principles. Yet, what happened on All Saints Day, 1517 started a complete new branch of Christianity. So, what was Luther, Melanchthon, et. al. protesting? Namely, indulgences, but, on a deeper level, the issue was the authority of Scripture and the efficacy of the Pope and his indulgences. Much later in Lutheran thought, the founding principles, and what was meant to guide the church became known as the "Five Solas," described below.

Sola Scriptura: The Bible is the only inspired word of God, and as such, is the only authority for living here on earth. Furthermore, this doctrine teaches that the Bible can be interpreted by all and is accessible to all. The Bible is God's instrument on Earth.

Sola fide: By faith alone we are justified! To Luther this meant that by faith we are declared and made right before God. Rightly interpreted, this is a statement of how we experience salvation. To Luther and the other reformers, this was the central issue of the Reformation.

Sola Gratia: By Grace alone Salvation is comes to us. We do not deserve God's gift. Amen

Solus Christus: Literally, "Only through Christ," this doctrine teaches that Christ is the mediator between my sinful self, and God's Holiness. Solus Christus teaches that we need no other man to mediate our holiness. I need no Pope to stand before God and plead my case. I need Christ's perfection and the his work in the heavenly sanctuary. This idea was another very key part of the reformation.

Soli Deo Gloria: Glory to God alone! Because he alone is the author of our salvation. We as Christians should seek to laud Christ for his blessings, and, by extension of this idea, everything we do should be done in the spirit of glorifying God.

How should one live one's life? Should one adopt the Five Solas as the grounding principle of our christian walk? Maybe. Tolstoy, in his collection What Men Live By proposed that one must live a life of love and avoid trying to care for one's own needs. I agree with this. Altruism certainly is an important part of the Christian Life. In fact, in a way, Christ is the ultimate example of Altruism. Yet, I think that this mode of existence misses something important, and I also think that Luther, in his last Sola, had it right. We should live in a manner that gives constant glory and praise to God.

Another interesting aspect of the Reformation is the concept of constant reformation. Basically, this idea says that the church should constantly seek to keep itself pure and in line with true principles of Scripture. But, what happens when we apply the idea of living a life of glorifying God with the concept of constant reformation? I believe this is the life God calls me to. A life where I seek to live according to the authority of Scripture, by the the saving faith which Scripture calls me to, by the Grace extended by my mediator Christ, and to praise him in all that I attempt and the parallel journey of constantly dying to self, of submitting my will to God so that my existence is in line with his idea. This is what the title of my blog means.